Date of this Version
Crop Protection 52 (2013) 103-109; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2013.05.019
Fruit loss to birds is a long-standing and costly problem for many producers. We conducted a survey of Honeycrisp apple, blueberry, cherry, and wine grape growers in California, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Washington to estimate costs of bird damage and benefits of bird damage management. We also assessed grower perceptions of impacts on profits and effectiveness of bird management techniques. Current yield-loss estimates provided by growers and market price data were used to monetize current bird damage in each crop and growing region. Data on expected damage without management were used to estimate the benefits of bird damage management as it is currently being employed in the different crops and growing regions. We estimated that current bird damage costs per hectare ranged from $104 in Oregon tart cherries to $7267 in Washington Honeycrisp apples. Estimated benefits of bird management ranged from $299 per hectare in Oregon tart cherries to $36,851 in California blueberries. Aggregate bird damage in the five crops and states was estimated at $189 million, and the aggregate benefits of managing that damage were estimated at $737 million to $834 million. Growers viewed most techniques for bird damage management as ineffective, or only slightly effective, and a majority of blueberry and sweet cherry growers viewed bird damage as having a significant impact on profits. Enhancing the effectiveness of bird damage management would increase both the efficiency and profitability of fruit production.